Once in a while, I get to do something really fun: a wedding reception. And last Saturday was a special day for a very special young lady in my church. Beautiful Betsy got married to Gentry John. And I was thrilled when she asked me to do her wedding reception back in October.
She wanted something very simple and tasty for her families who will be coming from up North. A little taste of the South, she said. Well, since I am a South Korean, I qualify to cook "Southern", right?. I did my best to please my dear friend. Here was the menu:
For hors d'ouevres for guests while waiting for the wedding party:
Fresh Fruit Display
Baked Shrimp & Artichoke Dip with Crostini
Assorted Cheese and Crackers
For Main Buffet:
Panko Fried Chicken with Red Chili Sauce
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream
Barbie's Yeast Rolls
Mashed Potato Casserole
Parmesan Stuffed Tomatoes
Garden Salad with Savannah Mustard Vinaigrette
Wedding Cake from Baker's Pride
I will post some of the recipes next few days, but today I wanted to show you how a beautiful fruit display can be done. The idea was provided by my dear friend, Robbie, who gave me a magazine clipping from Southern Living. Then, my friend Trish and I took the concept into what it is now.
For fresh fruit bowls, halve the melons (cantaloupes, small watermelons, honey dews can be used), and after scooping out the cantaloupe with a melon-baller, gently and evenly scrape out the meat. Then using an exacto-knife, carve scallop edges, by cutting a sharp "v" into cut edges.
Secure the layers of floral foam with wooden dowels. You will need to cut the dowels to size. Leave the original plastic cover on. DO NOT use oasis floral foam. You can be creative on how you want the shape and size.
Typically, I like to use banana leaves from my garden, but since it is now spring and the tropical plant leaves are not available yet, so I used the collard green leaves instead. Using floral pins and leaves, cover all parts of green foam.
Put plastic table cover under the foam base to protect cloth linens. Layer leaves on top to cover the plastic and also to create more space for fruit bowls and other fruits.
Secure a whole pineapple top by inserting about 2 inch of a 6-inch wooden dowel into the base of the fruit, then remaining dowel into the top of the foam block. Use floral pins to secure the upright pineapple.
Pin empty fruit bowels onto foam base, angling in attractive ways. Use greenery from your garden, such as gardenias, Youpons, camellias, or any variegated leaves to cover metal pins.
Fill fruit bowls with cut fruit, decorate areas with other fruit such as papayas and strawberries.
Here are some larger displays which my friend Trish and I did a few years ago. You can add fresh vegetables or cheeses, also.
This strawberry topiary was done using a conical floral foam and tooth picks.
Allow yourself about 2-4 hours to put together a centerpiece, depending on the size, plus the prep time for cutting fruit and fruit bowls. Plan ahead and cut fruit and make fruit bowls up to 2 days(pineapple, cantaloupes, watermelons). All garnishing leaves can be cut a day before, covered in plastic with a damp paper towel.
Wash grapes and strawberries on the day you are using. Using scissors, cut the grapes into small clusters so they can be pinned onto foam blocks.
For this size fruit centerpiece:
8 pounds of strawberries
5 fresh pineapples (1 reserved for top)
9 pounds of grapes (mixed red & green)
2 large bunches of collard greens or banana leaves when available
2 rectangular floral foams (24x12x2)
1 block foam (4x4x4)
Floral pins (get green coated ones)
8 wooden dowels (1/4 diameter)
Garnishing leaves or flowers from your garden